Page 5 - Hawaii Island MidWeek - March 16, 2022
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 She’s Letting The Music Play For Today’s Youth, Kūpuna
 ering that DeLima and staff perform almost no marketing other than through word of mouth and “promoting and boosting posts” on Instagram and Facebook.
and Leolani DeLima. Her fa- ther is the founder and front- man of the well-known island music outfit Kapena (meaning “captain” in Hawaiian) and growing up in such an atmo- sphere naturally brought with it expectations of being excep- tional in entertainment.
turing he and his children.
“It is true that there was a lot of pressure to succeed,” DeLima admits. “I think a lot of people expect that because you come from two parents who are musical ... that you’ re expected to be really
“I can dabble in other things,” continues the school’s voice instructor, “but when you’re in this family, you don’t dabble. You’re either good at it or you don’t play.”
to stay the course.
“He was the one who was
Somewhere along the way, however, DeLima found her- self pulling into port next to Parish, who was seated at the piano, and lending her voice to his lyrics.
“What we learned in this process after such a short time is how worth it this all is. The school has a mission to enrich the emotional, mental and educational wellness of the youth in our communi- ty,” says DeLima, noting that most of her students range in age from 9 to 17, but she also Rhas pupils “in their 70s or 80s” who take part in the school’s kūpuna ‘ukulele class.
good really quickly.”
To her credit, DeLima
f DeLima appears a bit anxious these days, her nerves probably have
pretty much like, ‘I don’t know why you’ re worried about it. You’re going to fig- ure it out; it’s going to be all good,’” she says. “I guess you always need that one person in your ear.”
“I don’t know how I boot- ed my sister out of that posi- tion, but she has forgiven me since,” quips DeLima.
aised in the town where her school is berthed, DeLima is
The pressure only mounted when Kapena’s other original members left the band, thus providing her father with the opportunity to chart a new course for the group, one fea-
For DeLima, she won’t be marrying just her best friend, but one of her staunchest ad- vocates and wisest counselors, too. When she briefly consid- ered pulling the plug on the school early on due to “cold feet,” it was Parish whose re- assuring words convinced her
In recalling how their ships first crossed paths about a de- cade ago, DeLima notes, “I like to tell everyone the mail lady dropped him off. But re- ally he was at my house and doing a song with my sister ... a duet that he wanted to hear a female vocal on.”
“This school has been a journey of ups and downs and we have a long road ahead of us,” she says in closing. “There’s a lot more work to be done, but we’re both ready and determined to do good work for our people.”
the second of three children born to musicians Kelly Boy
“We were all called up on stage from when we were real- ly young,” she recalls. “In the third grade, I danced Ulupal- akua for May Day and I also learned how to sing it. Every single performance after that, my dad would call me up on stage to sing that song.”
chose to stick to her strengths — singing, and playing key- boards and ‘ukulele — despite being capable of backing up her brother, also named Kape- na, on drums and percussion (“I’ ll keep the beat, nothing fancy. Just don’t give me a drum solo!”) or younger sis- ter Lilo Tuala on bass (“I don’t usually like to tell anyone that I play bass because it’s no- where near what Lilo can do; I mean she’s one of the best”).
less to do with the school and more to do with a new adven- ture she’s about to embark on. Come St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, she and Parish will officially tie the knot.
In recent years, the two have made beautiful music together, performing at private weddings and Big Island re- sorts such as Auberge at Mau- nalani and Waikoloa Marriott.
Now, with her hands (and his) comfortably placed on the wheel, they appear ready for the horizons that await. So says the captain of her ship and leader of the band.
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